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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  September 11, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. syria's our subject again this evening and we start with john mccain. i'm joined by my colleague john dickerson of slate magazine and cbs news. >> we'll know whether they're serious or not. but i'm willing to try anything. but i also want us to repeat our commitment to supplying weapons to the free syrian army. that's something the president of the united states told me and lindsay graham to our face and i wish he would have said it last night. >> rose: as we continue looking at syria john derrickson stays with us, we're joined with david sanger of the "new york times" and julianna goldman of bloomberg and peter baker of the "new york times." >> we forgot about syria
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preaugust 21st and this has distracted everyone so much this person's fear was if there was some kind of solution then everybody would say okay syria's done, we're moving on, we don't want to spend anymore fuss over there and the issue of bashar al-assad being there and the ongoing 100,000 already killed, that goes on untouched. >> rose: we conclude this evening with tony czuczka and alan crawford wrote angela merkel, a chancellorship forged in crises. >> it feels like normallism, finally, after the trauma of war and then the push for years. it's essentially assuming it's the rightful position, like the biggest economy, based on the economy. >> rose: economy based on export. >> yes, very much on exports that we need things that people
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want to buy that are prepared to buy a premium for. and then germany is no, it's undeniably the most powerful country in europe. >> rose: syria and angela merkel when we continue. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
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>> rose: we begin this evening with syria last night in his nationally televised address president obama laid out his case against the use of chemical weapons. but in light of a new proposal that the regime of bashar al-assad hand over its stock pile to the international community asked congress to delay a vote on military force. the message signals a dramatic pause in his efforts to convince the country that the need for u.s. military strike must be considered. secretary of state john kerry will meet with russian foreign minister on thursday in geneva to examine the russian plan. joining me is john mccain, david sanger of the "new york times" and john dickerson of the slate magazine. what did the president accomplish last night and what did he not accomplish. >> i think he accomplished a very compelling narrative concerning the terrible
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tragedies that take place as a result of bashar al-assad's use of chemical weapons, the dead children and women and innocent civilians, i think certainly moving to all americans. what he didn't accomplish was to describe what the strategy and overall plan is. he didn't say that he was arguing for military action but at the same time arguing for pause. that's very difficult to have an understanding of carrying out both of those missions at the same time. and what i was most grieved by and i mean grieved, not angered but grieved is that he can't talk about the pre syrian army which have been fighting valiantly against iranian weapons, 5,000 hezbollah on the
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ground. use of weapons of mass destruction. and yet he told me and lindsay graham in the oval office that he supported a shift in momentum on the battle field which would then lead to a negotiated departure of bashar al-assad. he said two years ago that bashar al-assad must go. that didn't enter his statement last night, and i'm very saddened by that because the blow to the morale of the free syrian army is very significant. >> rose: do you believe even though the plan isn't developed that there's a compromise here which is number one for the president to make sure that bashar al-assad didn't use chemical weapons again that that objective could be achieved by this compromise and is likely to be achieved. >> i hope it would but i think it's very unlikely. i'm extremely skeptical. already we're seeing john kerry having to travel to geneva to
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negotiate with labroff. why doesn't he come to new york and work out a resolution with the security council. the french has a completely reasonable proposal. putin said it was, quote, unacceptable and putin has also said the united states has to renounce the use of force. something that no great nation could agree to. so the early signs are is that this is rope-a-dope. again, this is a country that putin has supplied with russians tons and tons and tons of weapons to putin for years. anw he's going to be the facilitator of their departure. it really isn't logical. i hope that it succeeds. i would support something reasonable, but frankly, i'm very very skeptical about his success and all we're doing is delaying while more and more syrians are messed with.
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>> rose: two questions about that. does the delay come to the advantage of bashar al-assad, number one, and the syrian regime. and two, what does the president do if this plan doesn't work? speak first to whether the delay benefits the syrian regime. >> i think that if it doesn't work, the president obviously has only one option left. and maybe he could convince members of congress that he's exhausted every avenue. and the fact is that the only reason why there was a, what there was was because of the threat of him using force. for example, it was only yesterday that the syrian air force bashar al-assad's air force began operating again. and so if the threat of the use of force had some effect on bashar al-assad, then he can argue that if we fail, then it
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would be encouragement to bashar al-assad. >> rose: john. >> senator, you've had a chance to take the president's temperature in these meetings with him on his desire to punish bashar al-assad for the use of these chemical weapons. so that's one motivation for him. but there's also reporting and certainly you can see with your own eyes that this latest agreement with syria or russia, whatever its shape, is kind of last minute kind of exit for him in a policy he's in a bit of a pickle over. what do you think his greater motivation is? is there a rush to an agreement here that might get him out of this pickle or is he more interested in trying to punish the syrian regime for using these weapons. >> i'm not sure, john. i give the president the benefit of the doubt placing the priorities of the nation's security first and only. but i don't think there's any doubt that he's in very very difficult position having said he's going to strike and then saying that he needed the
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approval of congress. no president has ever done that. by the way, getting back to his speech begin, i think he did not give an argument about how this, how this conflict has become reasonable, that it is destabling neighboring countries that is now proxy war which iran is benefiting from. if it fails iran and other countries will take appropriate actions. i think he didn't say that. >> if the president talks about the syrian army and all the things you just discussed wouldn't the contention wednesday telling their representatives we don't want slippery slope here. don't they hear the slippery home that they're engaged, sounds like a huge mess that people don't want to be engaged in. >> you got to tell the american people the truth and putin assured them -- president assud them we would not have any boots
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on the ground. when john kerry says any attack would be unbelievably small, then american people aren't the only ones that hear that. bashar al-assad does, and so do other people in the world that want us to do badly. so you've got to be straight with the american people. you can't tell one group, well wink wink, nod, nod, this is really going to be robust, wore not going to be pinpricks and on the other side it's going to be small and of short duration and don't worry it's only to make bashar al-assad adhere to the chemical weapons treaty. it's hard to convince people that they're going to do things militarily for the sake of a of the treaty. >> don't you think he's making a mistake. >> rose: isn't it clearly the people who don't want to be a strike based for whatever it's defined, for whatever reason.
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suppose the president had said my objective here is to change the regime in syria. i believe that the free, that the syrian free army are a much better answer to syria than the regime of bashar al-assad. and i believe that we can deter some takeover by al-qaeda and al-qaeda affiliates. the american people would have bought that? >> no, i think he should have said to the american people is look, this is an unfair fight. tons of weapons come in from iran and from russia every day. these people don't have the wherewithal. what we want to do is shift the momentum so that it would lead to negotiated settlement of bashar's departure from syria and these people are engaged in an unfair fight and they are fighting tanks, era tacks, helicopter gunships and they deserve our assistance without american boots on the ground.
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that's how i think i would have shaked the argument, not just we got a regime change. i think it's got to be carefully phrased. >> rose: your argument is to hear you now and heard you before is the right way to end this thing is to negotiate a settlement but it will never happen until bashar al-assad believes he's losing. >> charlie, that's only logic. that's fundamentally, fundamental logic. a dictator is not going to leave his power, position of power unless he thinks he's going to be forced to. by the way a negotiate the settlement would be part of that negotiations would be securing the chemical weapons sites, which the free syrian army and the syrian national council have committed to do. >> rose: why do you seem to fear the consequences of the new allies of the rebels, whatever
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level they're at, al-qaeda, al-qaeda affiliates, you do not seem to be concerned about them or that can be a manageable issue. >> i think it's a bigger problem every single day as extremists and jihadists come in not just the arab world but europe and other countries as well. >> africa. >> but i know the people of syria are moderate people. you know that, charlie. they are moderate. they're not going to be governed by -- or al-qaeda, a bunch of foreign fighters. they reject extremists. and the majority still, great majority, i'd say 70% are still the moderate free syrian army people. and yes al mushra and al-qaeda are a threat and ought of them are wasting time trying to impose sharia law than doing the fighting that general's forces are concerned. the syrian national council is
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legitimate and i'm confident the people of syria would rule e around them. is it complicated, difficult, all those things. but is the status flow acceptable. >> rose: saudi arabia has given them support, turkey has given them support. i'll now talk about the rebels across the board and probably some of that fell into the hands of people who are not friends of the united states. and others have, are those weapons not reaching the free syrian army? >> some of them, and some of them are being vetted by the united states and some restraints have been imposed by the united states on what types of weapons. and they have been helpful. but right now, the price of a bullet is a dollar. they had not until recent days perhaps they had not received a single weapon from the united states of america. they received a bunch of mre's with an expiration date of about
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a month later. but here we're talking about collision costs and the equipment they're getting does not do well against tanks or fixed wing aircraft. they have a decided battlefield disadvantage. and it's clear that a year ago, before this injection of 5,000 hezbollah, the revolution reguard and stepped up assistance from russia and iran, that the momentum was on the side of the free syrian army. >> rose: your argument is that the only reason these kinds of weapons have not reached a free syrian army is because of the obama administration. >> no, not all charlie. are we going to depend on a country like saudi arabia for that? it's got to be done and orchestrated by the united states of america. now we've had some involvement but it's been minimal. and it's been reported, i'm not saying it's true and i don't believe it, that there are some in the administration that want to see just the fighting continue in a stalemate because they fear who might take over
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afterwards. that's the most cynical approach i could ever imagine given the human suffering that goes on as long as this conflict goes on. >> rose: do you believe after this conference, the diploma that's under way in a sense, a, will not work which you have suggested. do you find of hope it doesn't work because it's so ripe with problems and issues, that it would be just better if we go ahead and support with a military strike the pre syrian army so that it will put bashar al-assad on the defensive and then we can have a negotiated settlement. >> no, charlie, i'm willing to try anything. but let's make it in a couple three or four days. we'll know whether they're serious or not, but i'm willing to try anything. but i also want us to repeat our commitment to supplying weapons to the free syrian army. that's something the president
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of the united states told me and lindsay graham to our face. i wish he'd have said it last night. >> rose: why didn't he say it? >> i do not know except for this balancing act that you and i were talking about earlier, fear of disturbing the liberals who might say oh, this is a slippery slope. but you'd have to ask them why, why they didn't mention it. >> rose: everybody knows where you are on this. when you talk to your republican colleagues, some who have announced that they could not support before this most recent diplomatic fear, what is the reason they tell you. >> one of the main reasons is of course is the opinion of their constituents. it's overwhelming as you know opposed to any further involvement, frankly any involvement in syria. the iraq and afghanistan, particularly iraq was a syrian experience for them. i don't believe a compelling
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case has been made by the president by him saying here's what we're trying to accomplish, and here's why we're involved and here's the plan to do it. so they are listening to their constituents. there may be some who just because it's president obama and don't have confidence in him but i think most people it's because over their constituent response. >> rose: you mentioned to me on another program on cbs this morning early on in this if you thought the president needed to make an address from the whitehouse. so he has now made that address from the whitehouse. what do you want the president to do now? >> charlie, i would have postponed it. in light of this negotiations with the russians, i would have postponed it for a couple days to see how this plays out. because you can't, it's really very difficult. when you got one message, it's tough enough to get through but when you got one message by saying i want to strike and get your approval, but i want to pause while we give these negotiations a chance, it's made
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his, it complicated his message rather significantly. >> rose: senator mccain, thank you very much. i know it's a busy day there. thank you for joining me. >> thank you. >> rose: back in a moment, stay with us. >> rose: we continue our discussion of syria from washington david sanger of the "new york times," julianna goldman from bloomberg news and peter baker of the "new york times." saying with me here in new york is john dickerson of slate magazine and cbs news. peter, tell me where the president thinks he is at this moment, and how does he view the likelihood of success on this programmatic diplomatic engage that that might eliminate the need for a strike. >> he's on the proposal that vladimir putin sign up of the chemical weapons convention and therefore obviate a need for a
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strike because there wouldn't be anything to deter. i think president obama is skeptical of this as anybody would be whose dealt with russia over the years. he and putin don't have a great relationship just a month or so ago he canceled a meeting with putin because he had so little to talk about. having said that he was facing a pretty near certain defeat it seemed like in congress on this so he's latched on to this at the very least, an effort to show congress that he gave every possible effort to diplomatic approach before asking them to take up the use of force again. >> rose: and still making the argument that it was in fact the threat of military force which neighborhood this kind of compromise to be brought forward. >> exactly, exactly. and syria has admitted for the first time it has these chemical weapons and they haven't seemed to sign on to the russian agreement. lots and lots of caveats there. it's not an easy thing to extract these weapons even if there was an agreement and there's lots of two and fro already in the diplomatic circles in the u.n. soon to be
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in geneva about what this would mean and how it would be enforced. the president is hoping they could lead to something, gets them out of the political predicament he found himself in. >> what is it about this idea that so doesn't resonate with the more than people. the >> the big hurdle is chaos and the slippery slope. when you look inside these polls people are worried if we throw one ton off missile what will iran. is this as a result of retaliatory. what does russia do. they cannot be convinced the president says it's limited it's tailored there won't be boots on the ground this isn't iraq. he piles up explanation after explanation and it has no purchase with the american people. he keeps saying we'll try to get people over that hump and that's where they make the moral case. yes you have nears about this going and turning chaotic but
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this is worth doing because only america can do it. >> rose: is this going to work, david. >> well i think charlie, the way to think about it is it's got a very low probability of success. for all the reasons that peter laid out before. but if is successful it will do a lot more than throwing a few tomahawk missiles at assad. what you're talking about is the day after the strike. well they say assad won't be tempted to use these weapons again, make he would or wouldn't but he still would have them. the upside here is tremendously high even if they're not able to destroy the material and i've been talking to people what that would take and it's about 1400 tons of material and we're looking at least a year of destruction time in ideal circumstances. and obviously there are no ideal circumstances there. but even if you can just fence them off so that he wouldn't
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have access to it, i think the president would have accomplished more. the problem of the speech yesterday, i thought it was overall a very good speech and as john said made a very good humanitarian case. i think made a good strategic case, where it fell down at the end where he did not explain how he would avoid being played by the russians or by assad himself at how much time he would give, how we would have ourselves of disargument. we've been up and down this road about with the iranians and koreans. the only place it's worked is libya when they gave up the components of the nuclear weapons program. but that was a lot easier to ship out of the country. >> rose: would these weapons, these chemical weapons be shipped under the plan and i realize we don't know much about the. they would be shipped out of the country into the hands of an international group that would then proceed with whatever you do to destroy chemical weapons. >> not clear, charley because
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while you can pick up nuclear components and put them on a cargo plane and ship them out and you can do the same usually with biological weapons. chemical weapons are a mess, they could be in containers and electee while shipping it out. there are all kinds of risks in moving it. if there are conditions like this, the preference would be to destroy it on site. but you need to have enough security around the site that the rebel groups or the government doesn't seize the material as you're destroying it and that there's not an environmental hazard to the people who live nearby. the united states had to go destroy its supplies and we're still at it, it does it in the middle of the desert. i'm not sure there's going to be that option in syria. >> rose: was it the gift to the president julianna that gave him a i with a out because he was between a rock and a hard place. >> on the one hand you could look at it as a gift to both the president and to the members of
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congress. it was an off ramp that doesn't want to see the vote. it was heading off to a near defeat. one of the reasons it might not have been a gift for the president is because this speech was originally scheduled to press the case for military action. it was supposed to be two weeks of an education campaign between the interviews that the president was doing, statements, press conferences. this was supposed to be the big sell to the american public, even though it was repeating what he had already been saying for the past two weeks. now the 17 minutes of this speech probably 14-15 minutes of that was this case for military action. at the end he came back to pressing the case why they need to explore the diplomatic route. but look, i mean the problem now is the timing of this because this is the president's one chance really to go to the prime time audience, to make that case. you can only cry wolf so many times and if the vote is going to be delayed, now the pressure is on the president and the
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whitehouse to continue this education campaign to keep pressing why he feels the u.s. has both a moral and strategic need to use military force if it gets to that point. >> rose: peter, how will the whitehouse decide it's working this compromise proposal, and how long are they prepared to give it. >> those are unanswered questions at this point. the president didn't give us any kind of specifics last night in his speech. the while house owed today, jay carney the whitehouse press secretary was asked these questions. the material has to be secured, it has to be taken out of control of president bashar al-assad's government and eventually be destroyed. those are the conditions they laid out. there are still unopen questions, does it have to be done by the u.n., does it have to be an enforced resolution with what they call chapter 7 consequences meaning if assad does not live up to it there's an authorized use of force by the security council. the russians are saying no we
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don't want any kind of binding resolution by the u.n. we want a presidential statement. that's sort of the equivalent of a press release. a lot of these things are uncertainty. the president is not saying how long he's willing to wait, john kerry heading to geneva tonight said it won't be long. >> rose: what's in it for the russians. look, this is something vladimir putin likes to do, he's done it in the past he likes to be in the middle of things. he likes to have russia as a main player in international events. bashar al-assad is a russian ally, they don't like the idea of the americans intervening in the world. they look at this as a continuum from, you know, kosovo and bosnia and iraq and afghanistan and libya all the way to today, so they see this as a way of stopping american and sort of imperialistic in their view attitudes around the world. if it work, vladimir putin is the savior and on the world stage. if he doesn't he's at least
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succeeded in disrupting president obama's march toward military issue. >> what they saw putin doing is grabbing this moment, helping the president but putting self center stage by also trying to lock in that thing about the u.s. force, about keeping the u.s. so that whatever the chemical weapons deal is, keep the u.s. out because putin wants to be able to basically put a wall around u.s. military action, to keep syria, you know, in his pocket and kind of wall off the u.s. and think that he can do that because the president is in a pickle and will have to accept that. that's the way they read it. >> rose: he hated what happened in libya and he hated what happened in kosovo. >> he can try to lock that in now because the president is in a pickle and escape route. in exchange for that putin gets to keep his military out of it. >> rose: this is what i don't understand sunday morning in
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damascus i asked this very question to bashar al-assad. what would you do or would you be prepared to give up the chemical weapons if the president would not launch a military strike. and if you look carefully at his answer, he seems to say look, you know, it's beyond syria, it's about war in the region and all of that, and yes i would consider that. that's sort of bottom line of his answer. so my question is if i thought about that on a sunday morning in damascus, somebody had to have thought about this a long time ago. so have they been talking about this behind closed doors? david, peter, julianna. >> i can give you a little bit on that charlie. i'm not sure it's a definitive answer. i know that secretary kerry had early conversations with the foreign minister,th lavoff last week when he said putin on the edges of the g20 and they were talking when the overall subject of securing weapons. fat lavroff didn't have a plan. there was a discussion of a plan
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that was kicking around the senate as an amend. to the president's authorization for force that would have forced assad to sign the chemical weapons convention to give him 45 days to begin to turn this stuff over. that never even got introduced as a real amendment but it was floating around the whitehouse. that said, even the state department's spokeman said that when secretary kerry spoke on monday morning, he was speaking almost off the cuff. so it certainly did not seem to me to be developed as a full plan and when you watch the scurrying under way now from the whitehouse to the pentagon, let's say that this hasn't gone like a swiss watch. >> charlie, it's not like the white house was sending signals to congress that this was a viable working plan in the works for the last several, since the g20 back in 2012 and back
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discussed last week. when kerry made the offhand or what seemed to be an offhand remark earlier this week and as david said the state department tried to walk it back members of congress were going into a classified hearing where members of the administration were saying no, don't take this so seriously. and then they leave the briefing and they see the interviews that the president is giving to all the networks tentatively embracing this. so that's one of the reasons why the administration really isn't hindering much confidence on capitol hill these days even though they're going and they're making the credible case when it comes to intelligence. they're making the moral argument as well. but the confidence in how they've handled this has just really kind of hurt the way that they are being perceived among lawmakers right now. >> here's what i don't get, charlie. the president said that it was this threat of force that caused bashar al-assad to get scared straight that made him come to the table to deal with this. but now the thing that's going to codified that force. >> rose: you could feel their
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fear of that when i was in damascus. >> but the mechanism for keeping that pressure up is the vote in congress which he was going to lose almost certainly. so what keeps that, what keeps that pressure on? why does bashar al-assad think that this president is going to follow through. if his congress isn't going to back him and he's sending every signal he wouldn't go ahead without congressional approval. >> rose: knowing the president is less likely to have congressional approval and less likely to launch a military strike. >> i don't know the to. >> rose: peter. >> well it's a good question. i think the president has to contend with the fact that some of his on again off again switches over the last few weeks have in fact confused allies and adversaries as to exactly how strong he's going to be on this. some people perceive him as being weak fairly or not. i think what i have to tell you is the threat of force will continue to be there because
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they think that they can make a better argument to congress after this thing with russia fails, if it were to fail, that they made every effort. if in fact they can't make this work and if bashar al-assad does renege, he thinks he can go back and say you wanted us to wait until we tried diplomacy. we've tried diplomacy and now is the time to act and he thinks he can have a better argument then. >> rose: i think he's got a hard cell regardless of what happens because i don't think the american people don't want the united states at this time to be the world's policeman and they see this action as being part of that responsibility and they've had enough of that. david? >> i think that's right. i thought it was interesting, i'm maybe reading too much into this charlie. when you listen to the speech and you read the transcript of it, he talks about the congressional action in the past sense. and then he says if assad does not go ahead with this proposal, then the united states would
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act. he didn't say it would then act after he went back to congress. so maybe he would go back to congress, maybe he wouldn't. i can't manage that he would come out of this quite bitter experience with congress thinking that going back would get him anywhere. i think you're exactly right. i think people in congress and our polls show people around the country simply believe that when you enter into these conflicts they don't end well. and the history, this is the 12th anniversary of september 11 and the beginning of afghanistan and then iraq and those are both wars that did not end well and in fact haven't ended. >> rose: when i asked president bashar al-assad what would be your message to the american people. he said look when you've tried these kind of things before they don't end well. almost the words you just used. that was his menial -- message to the congress before he knew this compromise would be taking place. let me go around the table and ask this. would the president, does the president regret using the word
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red line even though in st. petersberg it's not my red line. does it regret him because it forces him to say and do. julianna. >> i'm not sure you would get him to admit it publicly but if you would talk honestly to the president and other members of administration it without a doubt boxed him into this mess that they find themselves in right now. >> rose: peter? >> i think that's right. i think he would never say it publicly and probably not even privately. what he says is he regrets how others interpret the line. just to blame those of us who over interpret it perhaps. >> rose: that's smart. >> exactly. the truth is he boxed himself in that he had to meet and it's been more than a year since then and to not follow through is to damage his credibility and the country's he felt. >> well you know, and that's, i was just going to say even two
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weeks ago after the august 21st attack with the administration saying this is the red line that the president has always been talking about. so even if he boxed himself in with it last august, by then coming even now and saying this is the red line, this still doesn't change the fact that this is what he's facing. >> even if he hadn't used the words red line he's facing the similar. >> rose: certainly after that discovery of chemical weapons david. >> i don't think let's a red line, this came into office -- the 2008 campaign was his promise to move the world down to first a reduction and then an elimination of nuclear weapons. i think the mistake was declaring a red line a year ago and then not having a plan about what they would do as they began to cross it. you may remember because i think we discussed this on earlier shows, the israelis, the british and the french all came out with
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evidence in each that there was small scale use of chemical with weapons and the whitehouse was sticking their head in the sand. they need to confirm it. now they're telling us there was nine to 12 previous uses. so the mistake here was not being ready to enforce the president's own mandate. >> what david puts his finger on is sort of the battle in side this whole barack obama. on the one hand he has the history david talks about. his long standing view on chemical weapons and getting rid of them. and the deep reluctance of getting into this mess and the red line you're talking about getting into the middle of mess. the war inside of him is what we're seeing unresolved and played out. >> rose: there's also this for the prepared. beyond all that we have said, it is i think his fear, real fear of what happens if bashar al-assad goes and what kind of
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problem that would present the united states and our allies. do you agree? that's why the emphasis on limited limited limited as if to say we want to do enough to teach him a lesson but we don't want to do enough to overthrow him because we don't know what would happen if we overthrow him and therefore it seems the president's almost asking for what we want to see is, because we fear what the most al-qaeda affiliate groups that are part of this may gain more control than we want, so therefore we'd like to see a stalemate. or at least for the moderates to have a chance to succeed if assad goes. but that's a dilemma for him and therefore he's had to sort of talk about his limited strike every time he talks about a strike. anybody? >> i think that's right. and i think this is one area where he's got common interests with putin. this is more peter's territory than mine because peter's spent
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a lot of time living in russia. put instant doesn't want to see a radicalized or islamic rise o there's on the chemical weapons. >> rose: i think the biggest fact the russians or the united states are looking for a common solution for all those reasons. it may give what everybody's always wanted to have in this solution some kind of negotiated solution so that should be comes to power would be negotiated and not taken force by arms, peter? >> well, i think that's right and what david said is exactly putin's point. heáñ#v and obama have had this argument now for a year and-a-half or so. putin's very afraid of the al-qaeda affiliate in syria because he sees it as an equivalent of the czech experience he had in russia. a negotiated solution as what the president says should come after he said an arms strike and
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perhaps after this removal of weapons if that were to happen. geneva 2 process they call it. but you know that's kind of been unsuccessful track so far and there's not a lot of reason to think that suddenly that dynamic changes in the next few weeks. >> administration officials said last night they said we've been talking about everything that happened in syria after august 21 the chemical weapons. they forgot about it pre august 21st and the ongoing mess and this person's fear was if there's some kind of solution then everybody says okay syria's done we're moving on we don't want to expend anymore fuss over this and unresolved issue of bashar al-assad being there and the ongoing 10 0,000 already killed that goes on untouched. >> rose: so where are we then. we just simply sit here now and wait until kerry and labroff
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present us more information on the negotiations and where the comprises are. what else david? >> well the first thing you have to find out is, is there a real plan behind the russian plan, is it a slogan or is there an operational plan. if there isn't an operational plan then i think the president would have to move fairly swiftly to either get one in place or set some real deadlines. i don't know that these necessarily have to be deadlines set in days or weeks, but if you let this go on for months, it would certainly look like the offense which was the chemical attack, the awful chemical attack on august 21st and whatever the global response would be would be so distended. time is on assad's side on this one because he looks around at his allies the iranians who have kept dancing on in the nuclear negotiations since 2002. you know, ten years will look pretty good if you're assad, right. >> rose: indeed. i'm still left with the question
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with respect to the president. where, does he have to go back to the congress, i mean, and say we have to have a vote on this if the compromise fails. because of all the moral arguments he's made so far. peter. >> he's made it hard on himself not to. obviously you can see why he wouldn't want to. going back to the congress is not anything, anybody in that whitehouse would like to do having gone through the last week or two. the argument he made is the reason he went there was because it was not an imminent threat to the united states, it was not an imminent threat to civilians as in the case of libya, he makes the argument. the and therefore he doesn't see the way the president would be able to move forward without seeking congressional approval. he didn't say he didn't have the authority but he outlie these conditions and saying in these conditions congress should have a say. those conditions will still be there a week from now a month from now or whenever this russia
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gamut fails and it were to fail. >> rose: two questions i'm fascinated by in terms of whether there's a developing idea the president isn't good at foreign policy number one. and number two whether this whole syrian crises will just take more air out of whatever leverage he has for the future of his administration. >> well some people would say let's go to the first one. some would say it's a complex ugly world and going back to peter's point about the red line he's not meaning red line in we pay close attention he's got a sense here and the complexity of the world is what's the problem not his talent for handling this. syria is the worst for him in terms of all the foreign policies. this is a case of some special nuance at work here. i think on the domestic front democrats certainly would argue republicans weren't willing to work with him anyway. certainly on immigration, on his jobs plan. so how much worse could it get.
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but we do have two crises coming up on the budget front. we have the budget itself, just the normal funding and then we have this debt limit fight. those aren't, you can't get around those. and how does this change that dynamic? i'm not sure it changes it a whole lot because the dynamic was pretty darn bad to begin with. so not a lot of new stuff's going to be happening because of the oxygen that this takes up, but the prospect for new things happening wasn't that great in the first place. >> i was just going to say i don't think it necessarily changes the dynamic but i don't think that you can take it away from the syria equation either. you have john boehner going out and backing the president on syria when it comes to the debt ceiling or the budget fight does that force him to go more towards the right and play to some of the tea party concerns. even on the fed selection, the president, you could say well the fed is apolitical needs to stay out of the political process but from the moment you ask the president your question your interview about ben bernanke that fends off the
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whole political surcurt who the next fed nominee will be. if you have some democrats or republicans who back the president on syria and looking for a way to assert their independence in the fed that that could be that opportunity. so this is a web and everything really is interconnected right now. and it's all going to have ripple effects whether or not the vote on syria if he does go back to congress which i think he likely will have to do since he's gone this far. that's going to be hanging over everything. >> rose: since you brought it up, who do you think he's likely to appoint as ben bernanke's successor. >> you know, i wouldn't put any money on it at all. but all signs point to if the president had his choice and could put the person he wanted if it wasn't tim geithner, it would be larry summers. but the question now i think is not whether or not summers could get confirmed because you talk to administration officials
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because they're not worried about that but how close the vote would be and if that would weaken summers as the next fed chair. >> rose: i'll leave it at there. thank you. we'll be right back, stay with us. the elections are scheduled for september 22nd and angela merkel is expected to be elected to a third term as chancellor. although she considered popularity at home she's become something of a controversial figure at the height of the debt crises in 2012. he tries to save the euro. she's been criticized for some of the tension between europe's rich north and poor south. despite her power she remains an fluence. alan clawferred and tony cruise their book is called angela merkel, a chancellorship forged
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in crises. i'm pleased to have both of them here in new york. welcome. glad to see both of you. tell me who she is first before we talk about germany and the debt crises and the euro zone and her leadership. who is she? >> she was born in the west of germany although she's famous for greig -- growing up in the east and her family moved when she was still a baby to the east. her father was a lutheran pastor and he answered the call to be to east of germany after the war. she grew up in a small village. >> rose: she was a physicist. how did she get involved in politics. >> immediately after the fall of the gold and helmut was looking for political talent in the middle east because it had to
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represent all of germany. and merkel, she fit the bill. >> rose: helmut khol was admired by many people certainly by decisions he made at the time. is she a protege in a sense he had influence on her. >> absolutely. he brought her into politics. we describe that in book. his operatives are the same founder and then he promoted her for a variety of reasons she was from east germany, they needed a balance between west germany in this new united germany. she is a woman so he gave her a cabinet post in the first unification cabinet basically that was her spring board. >> rose: you said this is a relationship forged in crises. >> we mean the european debt
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crises which dominated her second term which started for four years now. and i think the point of that is that she along with the rest of europe faced unprecedented situation that really put created europe, as we know it, into jeopardy. >> rose: but most people i know and we've done a lot of programs about the subject of what's happening to the euro zone believe that she favors austerity and believes that germany will be called on to rescue, and it has time after time. but she does not want to do it until she's pushed to at the last moment. but that's her modus operandi. >> the internal workings of that are she's also very deliberative and she likes to weigh her options and i think we explain a
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bit and she says this herself it's due to the fact she's not a politician by, you know, professionally if you'd like. she's a physicist and she looks at the world in this kind of experimental way that trial and error. yes. >> rose: she looks at the world that germany has been frugal and now it's being asked to support countries that have been profitable in terms of their budgeting. >> absolutely. she is from germany she's a politician and wants to win elections and she cannot antagonize taxpayers. >> rose: she's said she will not let the euro zone fail. >> absolutely. we describe at some length how she got to some point and it wasn't easy. but that was one of the key moments of her second term. >> rose: let me turn the attention to germany. where is germany today? >> it's a fascinating question
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because germany today under chancellor merkel is normalized finally after, after the trauma of war and the push for years. it's essentially assuming it's rightful position. it's the biggest economy based on the economy. >> rose: economy based on exports. >> yes very much on exports that we make things that people will want to buy and pay for. and germany is now, it's undeniably the most powerful country in europe. >> rose: she clearly said she could not, she would not support an air strike against syria. >> yes, that's true. and she insisted on a year end route, a political solution to the whole syrian crises. >> rose: even though the u.n. solution is not likely because
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russia and china likely to veto. >> she specifically was pushing for the u.n. to complete the work and complete the report. the irony now of course is obama has come around perhaps through default but she has the same position. >> rose: essentially does not come forward until recently because of circumstances of where they were. and the obama operation argues it was only because of the threat of that idea. >> but the key thing is, this is popular with the german electorate. unlike for example in britain, does not, does not usually go not easily but they certainly are not keen to engage in him tree action for obvious reasons. >> rose: exactly, yes. an interesting question. we both, you both have been right and say germany has helped
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them get beyond most of the trauma of world war ii. what remains in a sense? what do you consider today the most lasting residue of nazi germany and the struggle to come out from under that kind of disaster that happens to a nation. >> two things. the military aspect that germany cannot engage in action overseas without all of these checks and balances being taken through the parliament. we see that with the election it's an issue because all the parties brought it in. and the policy is still geared up all around the fear of inflation, high inflation. and there are reports that shows consistently that germans would rather given the choice, they
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would rather pay money down against the -- >> polar opposite from the u.s. >> rose: rather have tax cuts rather than deal with the national debt. >> one other thing which is not sort of a burden but it's a legacy that germany is still very protective of israel and it does it in a less sort of public, if you'd like, way than the u.s. administration does. but merkel clearly also had that commitment which has been a constant but she doesn't wear it on her sleeve again because she's not that kind of person but i think it's fairly clear that that is very important to her and she's actually, she was the first german chancellor i believe to speak to the -- if i recall correctly. >> rose: was france's better. it was before but it may not be
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under alan. >> that's a big issue and it's weighing on europe. i think the bottom line is those two countries have to work together and yes there have been quite a few tensions but i was recently in paris and saw them together after meeting where they tried to sort of put the eu and it's banking unit and all these things back on track. so i think those fences are being mended. >> rose: thank you. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you for joining us, see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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[captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> i have therefore asked the leaders of congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path. i'm sending secretary of state john kerry to meet his russian counterpart on thursday and will continue my own discussions with president putin. >> as the u.s. strike in syria averted, facing widespread opposition at home and abroad, president obama has asking to secure syria's

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